Elgin Lane distinguishes itself from other Key West streets by the impossible good manners of it's sign writers:Well, most of them:The houses on Elgin Lane are the usual mixture and included an upper crust guest house with barely glimpsed swimming hole:And the inevitable Conch Cottage with its own form of OSP, off street parking:And even though I frequently see porches set up for outdoor entertainment its rare someone is out there rocking gently or playing backgammon. Perhaps it's the time of day I pass by:Some houses are kept full of junk, the gruesome pack rat syndrome. I could never be a pack rat, being as how I was always traveling and leaving all my stuff, perforce, behind. Not like this character who likes to live behind battlements of stuff:Others fight the good fight, as do I, and struggle to keep the crap factor to a minimum:You don't even have to do much maintenance if your home is made of Dade pine:Some people are dab hands with a paint brush and pastels are the shades of choice. There is a tradition in Key West to paint outdoor ceilings a light blue color. The superstitious among us believe light blue for some unaccountable reason keeps spirits away and also has the beneficial effect they say of keeping insects away. Powerful stuff for a simple shade of blue:I caught one less traditional detail on a house that was all shuttered up- with a zip tie!Elsewhere ingenuity was evident, the sort of lateral thinking I used to employ when I was far from land on my sailboat, not, as in this case, on a construction site:I saw another piece of whimsy in a road sign on a stretch of this narrow street:"No Parking At Any Time" says the faded sign, which seems obvious enough in this kind of area, so it didn't take but two minutes for me to spot someone doing just that!That's what they mean by "island time." Don't lose your mind when people just stop in the middle of the street- it's the response to the general lack of space.Besides if you're in a hurry there is Eaton Street, a main thoroughfare just a block away:As if parked cars weren't enough, Elgin Lane is apparently plagued by junior league moon walkers:And cyclists, ready to run you down. Mind you those are always available in Key West, accidental ecologists on our streets:Oh and don't let's forget my pet peeve:We were at a movie the other day, my wife and I, watching a Spanish movie titled Fred and Elsa, a sweet concoction about late blooming love at the Tropic Cinema and one of the characters announced, annoyed, how irritating people are who don't keep their cell phones on. I got a big jab in the ribs, but I am unrepentant. Cell phones take messages with the greatest of ease. I met another character enjoying public telephony:Actually no, look closely and you'll see he was sucking hard on a brown bottle. He was a pretty cheerful character as he watched me point and shoot and volunteered that his was a long time Key West family that came here from Nassau. I've been to the capital of the Bahamas a few times and it never seems to get more attractive, a run down crowded borough with all the charm of a dilapidated shopping maul tacked onto a rabbit warren of narrow streets. This character turned a tad maudlin remembering Nassau in the 1960's making it out to be paradise lost, as usual; a nice guy gifted with a defective memory. Hell the Duke of Windsor was banished there in World War Two (he had unfortunate Nazi sympathies and they had to ship him somewhere he would do no harm) and he was in despair. I don't think Nassau was much improved by the time our beer toting new found friend saw the light of day.
But I digress, once again. Another piece of Key West whimsy, a light pole growing out of a palm tree:As cold starts to tighten its vise Up North I continue to enjoy Key West's primary colors, green blue and white with occasional splotches of yellow thrown in. I would rather eat worms than have to live in a place with seasons. I think that's my greatest fear if the economic melt down were to displace me, as after a life spent wandering I have finally settled in one place, a place of endless, glorious summer time. And Elgin Lane ain't half bad either:Not that I think too highly of speed bumps, but I did enjoy cruising the lane. And no, I didn't lose my marbles.